Ask anyone who owns either the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge what they'd change about the phones, and you'll see two answers rise above all others. They need better battery life, and they miss having external storage via a microSD card. Incipio has returned both of those features with its OffGRID battery case. And being that it's also a case, you're going to get a bit of protection thrown in for good measure.
So let's take a look at this case — which retails for $89 but already can be found on sale — and what it makes your phone look like.
The OffGRID case more than doubles the thickness of the Galaxy S6 — but it also adds a battery and microSD expansion slot
First things first: Battery cases make your phone bigger. That's nothing new, nor should it be surprising. The question is how big does the OffGRID case make your Galaxy S6? Well, a lot bigger. The OffGRID case fits both the GS6 and the GS6 edge, thanks to the included bumpers. It comes set up for the Galaxy S6 proper; you'll use the thinner of the bumpers if you're rocking the GS6 edge (like I'm using in all of these photos). On paper the GS6 edge is 7 mm thick. The OffGRID case more than doubles that to 15.24 mm. (Incipio on its website first boasts that the case is "just 9mm from the rear of the device," which is a little misleading insofar as the actual size of the case goes.) It adds just 5mm to the overall with, but you're gaining a good half-inch on the height.
Incipio has an extra NFC coil in the case to make sure you can still use that function on your GS6 with the case on, but considering the size and thickness of the case you won't be able to use wireless charging anymore.
The whole thing comes in a little smaller than, say, the Nexus 6, but it's definitely a good bit thicker. Again, nothing surprising there. It's still pocketable, but you're going to be walking around with a pretty big bulge in your front pocket. Or a decent blunt instrument if you keep it in your hand.
The case itself has a nice matte finish to it. We're already seeing it pick up a bit of dust and lint, which is prone to happen with that sort of finish. Same goes for oil from your fingers.
Mating the phone with the case is simple enough. You pry off the bumper, then slide the GS6 onto the microUSB port at the bottom. Then you re-apply the bumper. (Again, make sure you use the thinner bumper for the GS6 edge, and the thicker one for the GS6 proper.) There are cutouts for the IR port and microphone hole on the top of the case, and the new buttons for power and volume are still nice and clicky. The 3.5mm headphone jack becomes recessed a bit, so Incipio's included an adapter that gets you about a 3.5-inch lead off the phone — there's also a 1-meter microUSB cable. (And that's a nice touch — a lot of companies are skimping on that sort of thing these days.)
Now for the really important stuff — using the case as an external battery, and external storage. You can't use both at the same time. And that makes sense when you think about how this thing works, plugged into the phone's USB port. So you'll either be charging the phone, or accessing the external storage. But not both at the same time. Not a huge deal, but just something to know up front. You'll toggle between the two with a little switch in the lower left of the case. Up for SD card, down for power. (There are little labels on the case, but we can't help but wonder if they'll rub off over time.)
Incipio says the OffGRID case should more than double the Galaxy S6's battery life, and though we've yet to put it through its paces ourselves, we see little reason to doubt that given its capacity. The OffGRID case brings a 3700 mAh battery to the table to keep your GS6 topped up. (The GS6 edge has a 2600 mAh battery; the GS6 proper has 2550 mAh.) The case itself supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge and Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging (just like the phone), which means the case itself can get juiced up quickly, and it also supports "pass-through" to charge up the phone at a faster rate directly when plugged into the wall via the case.
The OffGRID case should more than double the Galaxy S6's battery life
When you plug the case into a charger, the four LEDs will light up in sequence. A quick press will light up the LEDs and give you an idea of how much charge is remaining. To charge the phone from the case, you make sure the switch is set to battery mode, then hold the case's power button (not the phone's power button) for a couple seconds. When you're away from a wall and the case is the only thing powering the phone, you'll get just 5V / 1A out of it — that's what you'd expect out of an older wall charger, or most smaller external battery packs. Charging rate isn't too important since the case is attached to your phone the whole day, but it does mean it'll take quite a while to charge up your GS6 with it, particularly if you're using the phone a lot. (For just occasional quick bursts of charging, perhaps consider a Quick Charge external battery instead.)
Flip the switch for storage mode, and, well, you've got external storage. You'll insert a microSD card before putting the phone in the case, and Incipio's done a nice job of making that easy. It's spring-loaded for when you want to remove the card. And an added bonus here: You can get to the both the phone's storage and the installed SD card when you plug the case into a computer. Just make sure the case is in storage mode, then hold down the case's power button for three seconds. (And the phone will charge at the same time as well.)
The good news is that none of that is really as complicated as it sounds. The bigger deal here is the bulk. You're going to have to really want some extra battery life and external storage in a single package if you go for a case like this. But Incipio's done a nice job. As a case, the OffGRID is large, but solid. It's nicely put together, with a good matte finish. It's easy to put on and remove, but doesn't feel like it's going to come apart. And with more battery and external storage, it addresses two major hangups of the Galaxy S6.
Where to buy the Incipio OffGRID case for the Galaxy S6
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